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A PEW WORDS 



TO 



rp 



THE SOLDIERS 



OF THE 



CONFEDERATE STATES. 



CHAKLESTON, S. C. : 

PUBLISHED FOR 

FEMALE BIBLE, PRAYER-BOOK, AND TRACT SOCIETY. 
Evans & Cogswell, Printers, 3 Broad street 



A. FEW WORDS 



TO 



THE SOLDIERS 



OF THE 



CONFEDERATE STATES. 



CHARLESTON, S. C. : 

PUBLISHED FOR 

FEMALE BIBLE, PRAYER-BOOK, AND TRACT SOCIETY. 
Kvans St Cogswell, Printers, 3 Broad street 



J± FEW WORDS 



TO THE 



Soldiers of the Confederate States. 



It is related that as, on a certain occasion some years 
past, in England, a party of gentlemen were dining 
together, among the company were found a colonel of 
the army and a bishop of the Church of England. The 
colonel, like, as he presumed, a true son of Mars, fain 
would wage war upon the son of the Church ; but as it 
would have been a violation of military courtesy to 
make a direct personal attack upon him, he determined 
to thrust at him through the cloak of religion, and thus 
take him at disadvantage. In the course of conversa- 
tion, the colonel let drop many bitter inuendoes and 
insinuations against religion in general, without any 
apparent effect upon his intended victim ; at length, 
piqued at his ill success, he observed that the only ra- 
tional prayer he ever heard, proceeded from the lips of 
an officer just on the eve of a battle ; he repeated it as 
follows : " O God, if there be a God, have mercy upon my 
soul, if I have a soul. Amen." There ensued a deep 
silence, and all eyes seemed to turn upon the bishop in 
expectation of a reply to this scarcely covert attack 
upon religion, both natural and revealed. He gravely, 
and without any apparent emotion, observed, thai; he had 
heard of, in his humble opinion, a far more reasonable 
and proper one, uttered under precisely similar circum- 
stances, by a private soldier, viz. " O Lord God, if in 
the heat of action I forget thee, do thou not foro-et me. 
Amen." 



A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 

The prompt, decided unanimity of preference given 
by the company to the simple piety and manly fervor of 
the latter over the cold and cheerless scepticism of the 
former prayer (if prayer it can be termed), was a mor- 
tifying repulse to the insolent unbeliever, whose lips 
were completely closed. 

While reflecting upon this anecdote, it suggested 
itself to the writer that the following dialogue between 
an old pious sergeant of the revolutionary line, and a 
clever private in the army of the present day, might 
prove neither an unapt nor a weak commentary upon it, 

Sergeant. Well, Thomas, I see you are in the service 
of the Confederate States. 

Soldier. Yes, I took on about a year ago. 

Serg. You soldiers of the present day have far easier 
times than we old continentals. 

Sold. Be it so or not, we think our situation might be 
bettered. 

Serg. Come, now, let us compare new with old a little; 
perhaps you will be more content with your lot. 

Sold. 1 have no objection. 

Serg. First and foremost, you're better paid, clothec: 
and fed. In the Revolution we received but a scanty 
stipend at best, and that came very irregularly, large 
balances still remaining due; besides, it was*in old con- 
tinental money — mere rags compared in actual value 
with the bank notes you are paid with. Our food was 
miserable in quality, often in a spoiled condition, and so 
scant that we were oftener starving than otherwise, and 
as to clothing, we more nearly resembled scarecrows 
than regulars — many were blanketless, and during our 
sad retreat through the Jerseys, our army could have 
been traced by our men's shoeless and often bloody 
tracks. 

Sold. Is it possible ! Those were hard times, in truth. 
And did none mutiny ? 

Serg. Mutiny ! Ah, we had no time for that. We 
were continually in motion or in action; but above all, 
our poor fellows were full of patriotism, and thought far 
less of their own sufferings than of their country's 
wrongs. Now, I dare say, Thomas — I mean no offence 
to you — were Congress to reduce the pay of their sol- 



4 A FEW Words TO MS soldiers. 

diers now, and to order them upon hard and dangerous; 
service, with scanty clothing and short allowance, they 
might mutiny. 

Sold. I think you are hard on us, my old friend. 

Serg. Not a whit, not a whit, Thomas. Pardon an old, 
veteran's bluntness, but human nature is human nature 
still; however, I speak not without observation. A 
year or more ago, I spent some months with a grand- 
daughter of mine who is married, and lives in the vi- 
cinity of Fort * * **; like all old soldiers who love to 

" Shoulder a crutch, and show how fields were won," 

I was attracted by the rattle of the drum, and frequently 
visited the fort, where I formed an acquaintance with 
the non-commissioned officers and some of the privates. 
Thus, you see, I had opportunity of seeing and hearing 
how things are carried on in these times. Upon the 
word of an old soldier, they compare but illy with old 
times. 

Sold. No doubt, in your opinion, old folks are sadly 
prejudiced, one and all. 

Serg. Perhaps so, but let us see the result of my dis- 
coveries at Fort * * * * First of all, desertions were 
of every-day's occurrence, and the most trifling causes 
were alleged. When I expressed my honest indignation 
at so base, so unsoldierly a crime, forsooth I was laughed 
at. What ! exclaimed I, is it no crime to forswear one's 
self? to be false to our Maker and to our country at 
the same time ? I was only mocked at the more. Bit- 
ter taunts were uttered against religion, and as to pa- 
triotism, scarcely one knew what it meant. Now, tell 
me, whether such men, if exposed to the privations 
cheerfully borne by my brave and trusty old comrades, 
in " times which tried men's souls," would be likely to 
stand by their colors. 

Sold. I must candidly say, I fear not; and moreover 
1 regret 1 cannot say that desertions are less frequent at 
my station. 

Serg. Drunkenness, too, to a beastly degree, com- 
monly prevailed at Fort ****, and was not looked upon 
in general by the men as disgraceful; indeed, it was 
deemed, manly to make light of it; and when a man 



A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 5 

was punished on account of some crime he had com- 
mitted while drunk, he was viewed as a kind of martyr, 
hecause his excuse of " being a 'little high,' and did'nt 
know what he was doing" was not taken. And as to 
the long-delayed and mild inflictions of a modern court- 
martial, compared with the prompt, efficacious sentence 
of an old drum-head, they only appeared to provoke 
ridicule — every drill and parade the ranks were sure to 
be disordered, till one or more staggering soldier was 
sent to the guard-house — sometimes when a crowd of 
ladies and gentlemen were present as spectators, this 
shameful exhibition took place; but I never found that 
those guilty were at all pointed at, or considered dishon- 
ored by their comrades. But, however men may regard 
so vile a habit, the words of the Bible will ever be 
found true in the end — At the last it biteth like a ser- 
pent, and stingeth like an adder. Prov. xxiii, 32. 

Sold. How is that, pray? 

Serg. Do you ask ? but you are a young soldier yet. 
Why, the "mania a potu" as the doctors call it — the 
horrors — the being confined on bread and water in a 
bomb-proof, etc., are rather biting. Then, squandering 
their wages, destroying their constitutions, bringing on 
chronic disorders and bilious fevers — being tempted to 
steal, lie, and desert — being often discharged, and 
shamefully drummed out of service as confirmed sots — 
all these are capable of stinging to the quick as to the 
present life; and as to that to come, the Bible declares 
that " the drunkard shall not inherit the kingdom of 
God." 

Sold. These things appear very wrong, without going 
so much to the Bible ; that will do very well for nervous 
old women — they are far readier subjects to be priest- 
ridden than we soldiers. 

Serg. Surely, Thomas, you don't mean to cast disres- 
pect upon the Bible ! You read it, sometimes, of 
course? 

Sold. Not I, indeed; not since I was a boy at home: 
though there are a number on the mantel-piece in my 
barrack-room. 

Serg. Not read God's Word, in a Christian country ? 
and why, indeed 1 



6 A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 

Sold. You call it the Word of God. I am not sure 
that it is; nor, in truth, am I altogether certified that 
there is such a being. 

Ser<r. Amazing! Why, Thomas, you astonish me 
quite f what, has not your chaplain taken the pains to 
instruct — but what do I say; perhaps you have no 
chaplain in your regiment. 

Sold. No, indeed, we don't allow such folks to hum- 
bug us. 

Serg. More's the pity of you, and shame upon it. 
But ah! the old continental Congress and General 
Washington, God bless their memory, thought differ- 
ently; so did my old Colonel C, and Captain M. Many 
and oft are the times that I have seen the general's 
staff, and the several regimental staffs, standing with 
.oats doffed, while our chaplain offered up, by order of 
Congress, at the head of the army drawn up in hollow 
square, thanksgivings for our past successes, and im- 
plored a blessing upon our arms for the future — ah ! 
believe me, it did us good, it was a cordial to our har- 
rassed minds, and nerved anew our wearied bodies for 
battle in our country's cause. 

Sold. Sergeant, you are eloquent : but that was many 
years ago — things are altered now; people are wiser. 
We are troubled with little praying or preaching in our 
regiment, and as to the Bibles and Testaments, which 
the societies furnish gratis (I can't tell how), their leaves 
are more torn out than read. 

Serg. Yes, many years ago; and then we were famil- 
iar with want and danger, were living from hand to 
mouth, with no other shelter oftentimes but the sky 
above; were literally naked, hungry and thirsty most of 
the time, and no man could tell when he mio-ht fall for 
his country — thus were we led by a sense of our frailty, 
peril and want, to look upward for help and strength. 

Sold. That seems all reasonable. You were on se- 
vere, honorable and dangerous duty, and were always 
employed; but in time of inaction we, for the sake of 
excitement, visit the sutlers, or the numerous grogshops 
vhich are by law provided for the weary an d the* thirsty 
traveller within a stone's cast, and stupify ourselves with 
beer, or get "high" upon gin or whiskey, as j f j e 



A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 7 

termed, in order to be lowered below the level of the 
brute. 

Serg. Much more, therefore, do you need moral in- 
struction. It is said somewhere, "that idleness ft the 
root of all evil." But if I remember aright, you doubted 
awhile back the being of a God. 

Sold. Not altogether; but only that I am not quite 
sure in my own mind. 

Serg. When I call to mind, Thomas, your worthy, 
pious parents, who are both now reaping above the 
fruits of their faith and obedience, it grieves me to the 
bottom of my heart to find a child of their's so unbeliev- 
ing. Most willingly would I spend hours, nay, days, to 
instruct you in my poor way, if I believed you sincerely 
desirous of learning; but do not play upon an old soldier 
for the purpose of scorning, I beg of you, Thomas — that 
would be unmanly. 

Sold. I fear I have, my worthy old friend, given you 
just grounds to suspect me from talking heedlessly; in 
sober truth, I have latterly associated with so many infi- 
dels and bad men as to have caught their slang ; but 
there are moments, and you have touched upon one, 
when better feelings come over me : then the early les- 
sons taught me by my beloved parents are remembered, 
and I feel that I lost them before I was well prepared to 
withstand the temptations of the world. Not to detain 
you, I do wish some instruction as to God, and in regard 
to the Bible, that I may have somewhat to oppose to the 
boasted scepticism of too many of my companions. 

Serg. Now you talk like the son of a pious father, as 
you are; and if you will be a patient listener to an old 
man who desires your best good, I will endeavor to give 
you some homely information on such important points 
as those in question. 

As to a God — without going to the Bible — common 
sense tells me that all the objects which I see or feel, 
about, above, and below me, on the earth and in the 
skies, are manifestly to my senses so adapted to each 
other, so fitted for the purposes to which they are natu- 
rally applied, that some all-wise, all-powerful being, far 
superior to man, must have planned and made them so. 
For a plain example, you once knew how to manage a 



8 A raw WORDS TO THE SOLDIHKS. 

patent plough, as you now do to handle a fire-lock; but 
you yourself can neither manufacture them nor have 
you seen them fabricated. Now, tell me, when you 
compare their several parts — wood work, share and 
coulter of the one, and barrel, stock, lock and ramrod of 
the other, and see how Ave 11 adjusted they are, and Avhen 
joined together, how admirably they accomplish certain 
useful ends, do you doubt that some far more skilful 
man, personally unknown to you, some time or other 
has made them, 

Sold. I do not. 

Serg. Now, it is related that when the early Mexicans 
first beheld the Spanish ships, with swelled canvass, 
approach their shores, and afterwards perceived the 
terrible report and deadly effect of their cannon and 
small arms, they believed the gods whom they wor- 
shipped were come down in human shape. A watch, 
too, with its nice Avork, its regular and animated mo- 
tions, has been found to strike savages with the idea of 
superior wisdom and power; though they ignorantly 
consider the power to dwell in the watch itself. 

Sold. These ideas are quite novel to me, though very 
simple. 

Serg. Take a more familiar object still: look upon 
your hand — is it not wQnderfully contrived for all the 
uses to which you put it : to provide the body with food ; 
to dress and cook it; to convey it to the mouth; to 
manufacture, fit and put on clothes; to defend the body; 
to handle the plough and the gun ; to wield the axe ; to 
build, guide and manage ships; to write, to sew, etc., 
etc. ? Behold your other members : your eyes, how 
keen their vision, how delicate their formation, and how 
well fortified from injury, and covered from the lightest 
dust; your ear, so .sensitive to the smallest noise, and 
yet capable of sustaining the loudest; your tongue, to 
aid mastication, and to speak withal, etc. Now who 
made them thus? Did your father make them? and so 
on to Adam. Who made him, and of Avhat ? Who but 
that all-wise, almighty Being we call and adore as God 
formed man' of the dust of the earth? 

Sold. I see not Iioav to deny your reasoning, or that its 
conclusion can be refuted. What you have said is sim- 



A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 9 

pie enough, and yet is more convincing than anything 

1 have heard. 

Serg. Because it is the simple truth, and we are not 
left to bewildering chance. But "enough/' they say, 
" is a feast; " I will not weary you with more, but go at 
once to the Bible. 

Sold. Aye, do so, and explain how it is the word of 
God, as you termed it awhile past. That seems myste- 
rious to me, how God should have spoken to man, whom 
he made ! 

Serg. That's somewhat owing to your mistaking my 
meaning. I have called it God's Word; but not that 
every word and sentence was spoken directly or dictated 
to mankind by God himself; but that men were raised 
up and inspired by him from time to time with the sub- 
stance of its several parts, the language being their own 
chiefly. Let the Bible speak for itself — "Holy men of 
God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 

2 Peter i, 21 . It is divided you know into two parts, the 
Old and the New Testaments; I will describe them 
separately. 

Sold. Do so, I'm all attention. 

Serg. The Old Testament consists of the books written 
by Moses, and by various leaders, judges and prophets of 
the Jews who succeeded him. They treat of the creation 
of the world, the flood, and the history of mankind from 
Adam to Abraham, and from him of the history, laws, 
rites and worship of their nation down to about 400 years 
before Christ. 

These legislators and prophets in their writings claim 
to have performed miraculous acts before the whole 
nation, and as they ever appealed to them as the proofs 
of the divine source of the laws, precepts and prophecies 
they delivered to their counUymen? therefore, the ac- 
knowledgment by the latter of their writings as the true 
annals or history of their nation, is a conclusive testi- 
mony to the truth of the miracles performed by them, as 
well as to the inspiration of their several messages; 
since God alone could give power of working miracles. 

Sold. Pray give me a distinct explanation of the word 
" miraculous." 

Serg. It means something done contrary to or superior 



10 A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 

to the usual laws or course of nature — such as healing 
the sick, raising- the dead at a word, with a touch, etc. 
Another unanswerable evidence is to be found in their 
predictions, exactly foretelling particular future events, 
as to nations and as to individuals — the judgments of 
God upon their own nation, and the pagan people around 
them — the rise and history of particular men — to the 
nicest degree, thousands of years before their fulfilment. 

Sold. Give me an example or two? 

Serg. I approve of your curiosity much, and will 
cheerfully gratify it ; — there was the Babylonish cap- 
tivity — that the Jews for disobedience to God's precepts 
should be conquered by the King of Babylon, their 
temple be destroyed, and themselves carried captives to 
Babylon — that after remaining there a number of years, 
they would be restored to liberty and to their native 
land, and enabled to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple; 
again their continued idolatry and wickedness, and their 
final subjugation by the Romans. 

The coming of Christ, and particular events in his 
personal history, viz : to be born of a virgin — to be of 
David's family — to be horn in Bethlehem — to ride into 
Jerusalem upon an ass — to be a man of sorrows — to be 
sold for thirty pieces of silver— to be scourged, buffetted 
and spit upon — to be numbered with malefactors, that 
is, to be crucified between two thieves — to have gall 
and vinegar given him to drink — to be mocked while 
hanging on the cross — to have lots cast for his garments 
— to make his grave with the rich — and to rise from the 
dead on the third day without corruption. Isa. liii; Dan. 
''x, 26. It was foretold that Christ should perform many 
notable and beneficial miracles — that the "eyes of the 
blind should be opened" — "the ears of the deaf un- 
stopped" — "the lame man leap as a hart," and "the 
tongue of the dumb sing." Isa. xxxv, 5. It was also 
predicted that he should appear before the sceptre de- 
parted from Judah, that is, the final overthrow of the 
Jewish government by the Romans. 

Sold. But how do you know that these facts were not 
written after they had occurred. 

Serg. I have told you already that the Jews had ac- 
knowledged for ages before Christ came, the Books of 



A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 11 

the Old Testament as their national annals, containing 
the prophecies I have just mentioned. They guarded 
them with the most watchful care, and to prevent the 
smallest alteration or addition, even counted the number 
of the words or letters : they handed them down from 
father to son, from generation to generation, as their 
true national history — as the genuine writings of their 
prophets, legislators, etc. There could have been no 
possibility of being deceived as to their authenticity or 
date. As Christianity is founded upon the fulfilment 
in Christ of the predictions contained in these books, 
the Christians have ever referred to them as the foun- 
dation of their faith ; the Jews, who were mortal enemies 
and opponents to Christ and his followers, and are sc 
in their scattered state to this day, would not contend 
for the truth of the very words of the Old Testament 
(though they deny Christ), unless the universal and 
perpetual testimony of their nation, from Moses down, 
had established their genuineness beyond doubt. 

Sold. 1 ihink I have kept with you so far. Now, I 
wish some more particular account of their actual ful- 
filment. 

Serg. This exactly brings us to the New Testament. 
We have laid the foundation, and will now proceed to 
the Gospel superstructure ; I hope you are tolerably 
persuaded in your own mind as to the divine origin, 
and of course the truth of the Old Scriptures, that "holy 
men o/God" did "speak" therein "as they were moved by 
the Holy Ghost." The Gospel, or glad tidings as it 
means, of peace and good-will from God to sinful men, 
shows how God's free and sovereign mercy and the 
gloriqus plan of man's redemption flowing from it, were 
declared, exemplified and fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and 
him crucified. 

Sold. Yes, I do wish to know something clear and 
intelligible about a person whose name I have heard 
oftener blasphemed in the army than reverenced, and of 
whom I have heard preachers assert hard things. 

Serg. What, for example ? 

Sold. Why, calling him God at one time and man at 
another. '■* 

Serg, Preachers often confound leading doctrines 



12 A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 

without distinguishing between, and showing their re- 
lation one to another. Now, they only stated the truth 
in these declarations. 

Sold. I am astonished in my turn. I should think 
this to border on blasphemy. 

Serg. Precisely what the Jews said when Christ 
claimed to be divine. 

Sold. What, did he claim to be divine to the Jews ? 

Serg. Yes, to their very faces, and proved it, too. 

Sold. And how, pray ? 

Serg. By opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping 
the deaf ears, raising the dead, etc., as foretold in pro- 
phecy 

Sold. You have surely forgotten that you said the 
same of the legislators, leaders and prophets: and they 
were not divine. 

Serg. No, I have not; far from it. These last, when 
they delivered their messages to. the Jews, were careful 
to say, "The Lord of Hosts saith," '' The Lord com- 
mandeth," etc., and always appealed in a solemn man- 
ner to Jehovah to give miraculous attestation to their 
words as his inspired message, on some sign on their 
part, as when (Exod. vii, 19) Aaron stretched out his 
rod over the land of Egypt, and its fearful plagues en- 
sued; when the Amalekites fought with Israel, and 
were worsted when Moses held up " the rod of God in 
his hands," but victorious whenever, through heaviness, 
he let it down. Exod. xvii, 11, 12. When the wall of 
Jericho fell down at the sound of Joshua's trumpets. 
Josh. vi. When the Prophet Elijah contended with 
the priests of Baal, and erected an altar, and put wood 
and a bullock thereon, and dug a trench around.about 
it, and poured water upon it, and prayed, "0 Lord God 
of Abraham, Isaac and of Israel, Jet it be known this 
day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy ser- 
vant, and that I have done all these things at thy word," 
etc. '' Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed 
it," in the sight of all the people. I Kings xviii, 20-38. 
But Christ says to the tempestuous sea "Peace be 
still," and the elements are hushed; to the palsied "Arise 
and walk;" to the leper, <-T will, be thou clean-" to 
the widow's son, " young man, I say unto thee Arise •" 



A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 18 

aftd to the nobleman, "Thy son liveth," etc.: don't you 
see the difference ? 

Sold. Yes, Christ speaks as one who commands and 
is obeyed in his own right: but have you not digressed 
from the chief matter in hand? 

Serg. Somewhat; but owing to your own invitation: 
we will return to the Gospel. 

The history of the life and ministry of Christ is 
mainly contained in the four gospels or books of Mat- 
thew, Mark, Luke and John, which, though in separate 
narratives, give most impartially, and with winning sim- 
plicity, a connected and harmonious history of the birth, 
actions, precepts, death, resurrection, and ascension of 
Christ. These men were poor and unlearned fisher- 
men — two of whom, the first and the last, were amongst 
Christ's immediate disciples. How can we account 
then that these simple narratives of so many interesting, 
wonderful, and supernatural events; so many pure and 
heavenly doctrines and precepts, unknown before to the 
most eminent human sages and moralists, and subversive 
of the most favored prejudices of both Jews and Pagans, 
could have been sustained against the incredulity, the 
inveterate and bitter hostility of the whole world, save 
"a small sect everywhere spoken against;" could have 
disseminated the Christian faith and doctrine among so 
many kindreds, tongues and people, for above 1,800 
years, and are even now being multiplied by the power 
of the press, beyond enumeration, for circulation over 
the whole earth, unless from the truth of the facts con- 
tained in them, indelibly impressed upon the minds of 
the more civilized nations of the globe — unless the 
chain of testimony from the Old Testament to the New, 
and thence through the Church of Christ down to us 
has remained unbroken, and proof against the malice of 
wicked angels and men. 

The testimony of Jewish and Heathen writers corro- 
borates, in the chief particulars, and controverts in none, 
the plain narratives of the humble fishermen of Galilee; 
the great, the wise, the learned and the good, have re- 
posed their faith upon them as the inspired repository of 
divine revelation in every age : and what is far more, 
the authors themselves, and their fellows the primitive 



14 A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 

Christians, staked their Jives upon their truth, and were 
given some to the sword, some to the cross, and some to 
the fiery stake. 

The writers of the New Testament state themselves 
to have been present at the miraculous events they 
describe, and would not have risked their lives unless 
satisfied beyond doubt by the testimony of their senses, 
seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching, of the 
truth of what they affirm. Is it reasonable to think that 
any man would expose himself to the most sure, cruel 
persecution and suffering, and finally peril his life, upon 
a falsehood ? 

Sold. Not at all, I'm free to admit. Well, my good 
old friend I am obliged to you for your brief, but most 
clear and interesting account of the Bible, and will now 
thank you to return to the nature of Christ. What 
you have already said seems to me very strange and 
mysterious. 

Serg. Well may it do so, when the inspired St. Paul 
writes in his epistle to Timothy, "Great is the mystery 
of godliness. God was manifest in the flesh," etc., but 
it is plainly written in the Bible, and if we do indeed 
believe that to be the word of God, we must believe it, 
though in its nature it be out of the reach of, but not 
contrary to, our understandings. 

Sold. Can a man believe what he does not compre- 
hend ? 

Serg. We do believe many things we do not under- 
stand nor can explain fully: for example, we believe 
that when we sow any kind of seed it will, in due season, 
take root downward, spring up, blossom, and bear fruit; 
but we do not comprehend how God, who said, "Let the 
earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the 
fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind" (Gen. i, 11), 
performs so wonderful an operation. We believe, unless 
a miracle intervene, the sun will rise to-morrow; but do 
we understand how God will cause the earth to turn 
round upon its axis, that the sun may apparently rise to 
us? I might add many more examples, but will only 
draw a conclusion from what has been already said. 
We see the works of creation ; we behold their order 
method, fitness; we behold unerring wisdom in their 



A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 15 

plan, almighty power in their execution; we, therefore, 
acknowledge and adore God, but we understand not his 
manner of existence. 

Sold. I see you are right, and that we fain must 
believe many things we cannot comprehend ; but I in- 
terrupt you. 

Serg. The Bible declares that all men are, in the 
sight of God, sinners, and under the curse of the perfect 
law of God, which declareth, " The soul that sinneth it 
shall die." And, my young friend, can our own con- 
sciences, or our own observation, assure us that we, in- 
dividually, or our relations and associates, are not sinners 
against the pure laws and precepts of our Maker, our 
Preserver, our Master, and our King? And when God, 
who cannot lie, solemnly tells us in his Word that we 
are all found wanting, and condemned, and under sen- 
tence by this law, shall we rather believe the world, and 
our own deceitful hearts, and be at peace, ivhen " to the 
wicked there is no peace?" when the wrath of God "who 
made," and "who can as easily destroy," is gathering 
above our guilty heads ? 

But whatever we may think, the truth of God is 
pledged — we must all die — 'tis true we must, from the 
mortality of our bodies, sooner or later crumble into 
dust: but our souls must stand before the bar of God — 
a justly offended God ! 

Now, my fellow sinner, I ask you solemnly, between 
you and myself alone, and God who hears us, how can 
you and I escape that searching trial of our most secret 
thoughts, our idle, and profane words, our evil deeds? 
Who shall plead for us there, and make atonement for 
our sins? There is neither angel or man worthy enough, 
or of sufficient dignity, to expiate the universal violation 
of God's holy laws by our race — for "God chargeth 
the angels themselves with folly. ' Job iv, 18. 

The Prophet Isaiah saith : "And he saw that there 
was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: 
therefore, his arm brought salvation unto him; and his 
righteousness, it sustained him." Isaiah lix, 1G. Yes, 
God's mercy and goodness "have laid help upon one 
that is mighty. Psa. Ixxxix, 19. God, in the person of 
his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, took upon him our 



16 A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 

nature, that human nature which had sinned; — Christ, 
according to the prophecies of the Old Testament which 
went before on him, "was born of a virgin," and "be- 
came a man of sorrows" — he was poor and despised, 
he was persecuted, calumniated, betrayed, scourged, spit 
upon, and crucified as a malefactor; but he was with- 
out sin, and fulfilled in every point the divine laws 
which our race had all broken, and "once made by his 
body upon the cross, a full, perfect and complete satis- 
faction and atonement" for all men. But he was God 
as well as man; therefore, when he spoke it was "as 
never man spake:" it was, "Verily I say," and when 
he commanded, " lo ! the winds and the sea obey him," 
it was as when God in the beginning said, "Let there 
be light, and there was light." 

In the Bible we find the names and attributes of God 
bestowed upon Christ, as well as the name, character, 
and physical infirmities of man : he must needs be, 
therefore, God and man, or the Scriptures are untrue. 
But, pray, is it a whit more marvellous for Almighty 
Power to unite his own self-existent nature with the 
human nature created by him, in the person of the holy 
child Jesus, than that he should have formed man of the 
dust, and have breathed into him a living soul ? 

Sold. Both are, in truth, beyond our comprehension. 
Did you mean, when you stated just now that Christ 
made a full atonement for all men, that all are without 
sxception pardoned on account of it? 

Sexg- Alas! no. St. Peter says, "To him give all 
the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever 
believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. Acts 
s, 43. To believe in him is the condition on which sins 
ire remitted. I will explain this by a kind of parable. 
Suppose a number of persons confined in jail under 
sentence of death for some notable offence, and some 
benevolent and great man intsrests himself in their be- 
nalf, and, after much entreaty, obtains from government 
.he lives of the prisoners; but on condition that they 
sign a solemn pledge to remove, by a certain day, from 
die country forever. If these persons do not put faith in 
:his promise, and refuse to sign the pledge, or if, after 
signing it, they should begin to think that government 



A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. IT 

would wink at their remaining after the appointed day, 
and should fail to go, they would justly be put to death 
under their original sentence, would they not ? 

Sold. To be sure. 

Serg. The Bible (you do not wonder now, I see, as 
you did, at my frequent reference to this book) declares 
that Christ "died for our sins, and rose again for our 
justification." 

1st. That our actual sins should be pardoned, in virtue 
of his bearing the punishment due unto them, in the 
same nature as our own, and of his perfect obedience to 
the perfectly pure laws we have violated, conditional 
upon our hearty trust in him as our sole, all-efficient 
Saviour, and upon our "bringing forth fruits meet for 
repentance." Matt, iii, 8. Christ died to save us from, 
and not in our sins. St. Paul says, "But if, while we 
seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are 
found sinners, is, therefore, Christ the minister of sin ? 
God forbid. For if I build again the things which I de- 
stroyed, I make myself a transgressor." Gal. ii, 17, 18. 
As if those criminals mentioned above should return 
whence they were banished, and commit the same or 
other offences, surely the mediation of their intercessor 
would be of no more avail. Does this seem clear to 
your mind ? 

Sold, duke so; but, alas! who can cease from sin? 
who can be perfect? 

Serg. None — not the greatest saints; but far less they 
who rely upon any fancied goodness or strength of their 
own : only they who seek aright that supernatural and 
spiritual aid Christ has promised, will be delivered from 
the power of it, and enabled "to work out their salva- 
tion with fear and trembling 1" 

Sold. What aid is that ? 

Serg. The help of the Holy Spirit, to inspire us with 
good thoughts and holy resolutions, and to strengthen us 
to fulfil them. 

Sold. That's to my mind fanatical. 

Serg. It is the doctrine of the Bible, and a vital one; 

and what is surprising in it, since the great heathen 

moralists and sages, Plato and Socrates, acknowledged 

man's need of divine instruction ? We have now a 

2 



18 A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 

divine revelation, and that assures us that God will (St. 
Luke xi, 13) "give the Holy Spirit to them who ask 
him," to impress the truths of that revelation upon their 
minds and hearts. God, who formed our spirits within 
us, can, assuredly, in secret influence them by his own 
Spirit. You call it fanatical, and so does the world; 
but it has been, and ever is, the most comfortable ani- 
mating doctrine of the Jewish church, from David " the 
sweet Psalmist of Israel," and of the Church of Christ, 
from its institution. 

Sold. I own that I have thought little on it : I always 
slighted it as mere enthusiasm and cant. 

Serg. I pray that you may henceforth regard it as a 
most reasonable and comforting truth — may experience 
its holy adaptation to your own necessities as a' sinful, 
and weak pilgrim on earth — a prodigal son far away 
from his father's house, desiring to return thither, but 
fearing to do so? Did a Christian, during his perilous 
warfare with enemies without and foes within, doubt it 
for a moment, he would be in despair, as any man would 
have been in our revolutionary struggles, who exercised 
no faith in a superintending Providence. 

Sold. You believe, then, that it may be had, if prayed 
for. 

Serg. Certainly, if God sees that it is asked in a 
humble, teachable frame of mind. 

Sold. But how shall one know if his prayer be an- 
swered ? 

Serg. " And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if 
a man should cast seed into the ground; and should 
sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring 
and grow up, he knoweth not how." Mark iv, 26, 27. 
"And let us not be weary in well-doing: for indue 
season we shall reap if we faint not." Gal. vi, 9. "For 
the promise is unto you and your children, and to all 
that are afar off," etc. God has promised, and will cer- 
tainly perform, to you and to me, and to all who will 
humbly and importunately call upon him. 

Sold. I know not how, in general, the revolutionary 
soldiers regarded this doctrine ; but, my old friend, the 
soldiers of the present day would mock at and deride it, 
and I incline to think some of the officers would laugh 



A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 19 

at it as an old woman's tale. Why, I have heard of 
more than one as having said that religion might do for 
citizens well enough, but that soldiers had no business 
with it. 

Serg. It is hardly to be wondered that the majority of 
private soldiers, who are mostly unlearned men and with- 
out the benefit of instruction, either mental or spiritual, 
with no chaplain to care for their souls, should ignorantly 
deride what they do not understand, and have not given 
a serious thought to; but I am unwilling to suppose, 
for a moment, that any well-informed officers of oui 
army, who have received at the West Point Academy, 
founded under Gen. Washington's auspices, a sound 
mathematical education, and are qualified thereby to 
make an accurate and intelligent examination of the 
evidences of Christianity, besides having abundant lei- 
sure in time of peace, would set so unwise an example 
to the poor soldiers whom God has put under them, as 
to hoot at what they have been at no pains to investigate. 
Such a state of things, if at all true, and you are not 
misinformed, is surely deplorable. Now, how worthy of 
imitation the conduct, as simply portrayed in Scripture, 
of two Roman centurions (or captains). The one men- 
tioned in the seventh chapter of St. Luke, though born 
a Pagan, has exhibited an instance of perhaps the most 
intelligent yet humble faith on record, which our Sa- 
viour at the moment commended, " as greater than any 
he had found in Israel;" that nation of whom it was 
said, " He came unto his own, and his own received him 
not." He had heard of Jesus' miracles, and far from 
doubting, or from attributing them, as did the Jews, to 
diabolic influences, he thus expressed through his 
friends a humble reliance upon the Saviour: "Wherefore 
neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee, but 
say in a word, and my servant shall be healed." The 
other is described in Acts x, 2, as " a devout man, and 
one that feared God with all his house, which gave much 
alms to the people, and prayed to Gop always." Unto 
him God gave the glorious distinction of becoming, 
through angelic agency, the first baptized convert 
from the Gentiles ; and that his example was blessed 
to the soldiers under him, may be seen from the seventh 



20 A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 

verse of the same chapter. And it was a centurion, who, 
when Christ expired on the cross, seeing his magnani- 
mous submission to so ignominious a death, gave that 
noble and ingenuous attestation to his divine character 
and claim, "Truly this man was the Son of God." 

Sold. Most beautiful examples, truly ; I confess with 
shame I never noticed them before. I must read my 
Bible more. 

Serg. Ah, my young friend, I am an old, superannu- 
ated veteran; my earthly battles, in one sense, are long 
since over ; I have outlived many of my relatives, and 
the associates of my youth and manhood; my toils and 
pleasures are alike past, my sun is about to set : but I 
thank God that I have my' Bible, and sight enough to 
read its consolatory, animating promises, and assurances 
of a better world to come. I trust that when the time 
arrives, as soon it must, for my poor crazy limbs to be 
laid in a soldier's honored grave, I will he able humbly 
to say as a soldier of Jesus Christ, " I have fought the 
good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the 
faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of 
righteousness," etc. Sincerely do I pray that you may 
also find within the sacred pages, " the pearl of great 
price." Christ says, "Search the Scriptures ; they are 
they which testify of me." John v, 39. 

Sold. I am too much your debtor, my good old friend, 
to neglect your kind admonitions ; depend upon it, I 
will not put them from me as before. 

Serg. But as there are many things contained therein 
hard to understand, and which we may '' wrest to our 
own destruction;" many things opposed to our corrupt 
and evil propensities ; pray secretly to God to enlighten 
your mind and influence your heart by his Holy Spirit, 
and to give you such a teachable disposition, that the 
blessing of Christ may rest upon you. To the incredu- 
lous Thomas, he said, " Thomas, because thou hast 
seen me, thou hast believed : blessed are they that have 
not seen, and yet have believed." St. John xx, 29. 

Sold. I cannot, if I would, gainsay your advice; I 
have lived like a heathen, I confess, without prayer of 
any kind. 

Serg. And, therefore, fell unresistingly into the ranks 



A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 21 

of cold and cheerless infidelity. Why, the poor Pagans 
are very diligent in praying to stocks and stones, and 
shall Christian soldiers, in a gospel land, not pray to 
God their Maker, nor read his Word ! 

What would be the result, I ask, if soldiers read the 
holy and peaceful precepts of the Bi^le, and would pray 
to God for his Spirit to enable them to understand, to 
love, and obey them ? Drunkenness, that bane of sol- 
diers, gambling, lying, stealing, evil-speaking, desertion, 
waste of health, character, and pay, would all cease. 
Soldiers, instead of the character of idle, worthless sots, 
which the bad conduct of too many of their number 
causes their fellow citizens to entertain, would be looked 
upon as quiet, orderly, cleanly members of society. 
They would be obedient and respectful to their officers; 
friendly, kind, and at peace one with another; would 
perform their duties, "not with eye-service, as men 
pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God." 
They would be content and frugal with their wages; 
would be satisfied with the warm and excellent clothing, 
and the wholesome food they are provided with; and as 
to the comforts and benefit of their post hospitals when 
sick, they would haply be without much opportunity of 
experiencing them, from their improved health of body 
and cheerfulness of mind. And if, in the dispensations 
of Providence, laid upon a bed of sickness and brought 
to death's door, their Bibles and their pious comrades 
would be their comfort; but above all, their habits of 
prayer would bring down assurances and consolations 
above what earth can give, and which, in moments of 
pain, and sickness, and death, neither infidel nor scoffer 
can intermeddle with. 

■ Sold. Ah ! my own brief experience tells me what a 
blessed aspect a garrison would put on under such cir- 
cumstances. What a pleasant thing to be a soldier it 
would then be; every one would do his own share of 
duty, and not throw it upon his more innocent comrades 
by getting confined; the only strife, if such at all, would 
be who should excel as a ready and clean soldier. 

Serg. Aye, aye, then "would the desert rejoice and 
blossom as the rose." (Isaiah xxxv, 1.) Every soldier 
would be a Christian gentleman. None by intoxication 



22 A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 

or vulgar conduct would put himself on a par with the 
brute. Should war arise, what an army of heroes, of con- 
scientious, high-principled Christian soldiers to defend 
our country ! Mutiny, desertion, cowardice, drunken- 
ness, and sleeping on duty, etc., would find no place. 
The banner under which they fight would be honored 
by such defenders, and they would deserve a general 
such as Washington, who, after the disastrous affairs of 
Brandywine and Germantown, while the army lay at 
Valley-Forge, during the severe winter of '77 and '78, in 
a very destitute condition, was in the frequent habit of 
visiting alone a secluded grove. This excited the cu- 
riosity of a neighboring Quaker gentleman, named Potts, 
who sided with the Tories, and led him to watch his 
movements on one of these occasions, till he perceived 
this great and good man upon his knees, and engaged in 
prayer : such was the impression made on him, that on 
returning home he related the circumstance to his family 
and exclaimed — "Our cause is lost," etc. Surely, when 
a man like Washington thus acted, no officer or soldier 
of our army should view himself as doing an unbecoming 
act, or as being justly open to ridicule in "praying to 
God always," and in all things setting a pious example 
to his fellow beings and companions in arms. God 
forbid. 

Sold. A most striking example, indeed; one which no 
true-hearted Confederate soldier should hear without 
emotion. I pray never to forget it. 

Serg. His wonderful preservation on Braddock's bloody 
field, and on other occasions — his calm and undismayed 
demeanor in the most gloomy and disheartening circum- 
stances — and the final success of the American arms 
under his auspices — may well be attributed in part to 
his manly prayers, and pious trust in an overruling 
Providence. 'Tis true that great matters were at stake 
in those times, and calculated to drive us to our knees; 
and so it is now; but, if it were not so, we have no 
reason to doubt but that God will regard us in the day 
"of small things," nor forget at any time those who 
humbly call upon Him, since he has declared that "not 
a sparrow falleth to the ground without Him," and that 
he "will ever temper the wind to the shorn lamb." 



A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 23 

Therefore, my dear young friend, do not omit in your 
you-th and manhood, when all things are apparently 
smooth and prosperous to you to offer with constancy, 
faith, and devotion, the sacrifices of prayer, thanks- 
givings, and praise, to Him who is the author of all your 
blessings, that you may not be "ashamed in the evil 
time" of misfortune, war, bereavement, sickness, old 
age, temptation and trial; and your own short expe- 
rience has told you how numerous, treacherous, and 
powerful, the temptations to which a soldier is every day 
and hour exposed. We are about to part, perhaps never 
to meet again in this world; let my last words be then 
impressed upon you as the legacy of & poor, old veteran, 
as to this world's goods, to the son of departed friends. 
The Bible is like a golden mine; prayer is the only in- 
strument by which its treasures may be dug and brought 
to light, and what now is more rational, more suitable to 
a dependent and accountable creature than to supplicate 
and worship his Almighty Creator! 

Sold. Ere we part, accept my best thanks, my good, 
old friend, for your patience and perseverance in en- 
deavoring to instruct one as ignorant and wilful as 
myself. Your remarks, at once so clear and so true, and 
so charitably urged on one, I fain hope will not be lost 
upon me. I am determined, as God shall help me, what- 
ever my comrades may say, no longer tb despise and 
neglect the Bible, but attentively to read-it; and hope I 
shall never be ashamed hereafter to follow the example 
of so brave a soldier, so great and good a man, so true a 
patriot, as George Washington ; and to kneel in prayer 
to God who made, who preserveth, who hath redeemed, 
and who will finally judge me. I hope we may again 
meet, and renew our interesting discourse. 

Serg. Most heartily say I Amen to this. I am not 
worthy of so much commendation, since, when I have 
done all, I am "still an unprofitable servant," and have 
only done my bounden duty ; but I am thankful we have 
met, and pray that God will bless those truths I have 
uttered in His name for want of a better spokesman; 
because they are those He has himself, in mercy and 
compassion to our proud and ignorant race, caused to be 
promulgated in his blessed Word. Farewell. 



24 A FEW WORDS TO THE SOLDIERS. 

"Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to 
be written for our learning; grant that we may in such 
wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest 
them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, 
we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of 
everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour 
Jesus Christ. Amen."